United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Southern Division
KIMBERLY HAGBERG, o/b/o EMIL P. HAGBERG, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER'S
KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
Kimberly Hagberg,  on behalf of her deceased husband, Emil P.
Hagberg (“Plaintiff”), petitions for review of an
adverse decision by Defendant, the Acting Commissioner of
Social Security (“Commissioner”). Plaintiff
applied for disability insurance benefits under Title II of
the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434. The
administrative law judge (“ALJ”) found Plaintiff
had multiple severe impairments, including diabetes mellitus
with neuropathy, obesity, fibromyalgia, and right shoulder
impairment, but retained the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform work as a bench packager,
bench assembler, and sorter.
explained below, the Court finds the ALJ's opinion is
supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole.
The Commissioner's decision is therefore AFFIRMED.
and Factual Background
complete facts and arguments are presented in the
parties' briefs and are repeated here only to the extent
filed the pending application on February 14, 2014, alleging
a disability onset date of December 15, 2012. The
Commissioner denied the application at the initial claim
level, and Plaintiff appealed the denial to an ALJ. On
November 23, 2015, the ALJ held a hearing and on December 29,
2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff was not
disabled. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review on April 21, 2016, leaving the ALJ's decision
as the Commissioner's final decision. Plaintiff has
exhausted all administrative remedies and judicial review is
now appropriate under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
federal court's review of the Commissioner's decision
to deny disability benefits is limited to determining whether
the Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole. Andrews v.
Colvin, 791 F.3d 923, 928 (8th Cir. 2015). Substantial
evidence is less than a preponderance, but enough evidence
that a reasonable mind would find it sufficient to support
the Commissioner's decision. Id. In making this
assessment, the court considers evidence that detracts from
the Commissioner's decision, as well as evidence that
supports it. Id. The court must “defer
heavily” to the Commissioner's findings and
conclusions. Wright v. Colvin, 789 F.3d 847, 852
(8th Cir. 2015). The court may reverse the Commissioner's
decision only if it falls outside of the available zone of
choice; a decision is not outside this zone simply because
the evidence also points to an alternate outcome. Buckner
v. Astrue, 646 F.3d 549, 556 (8th Cir. 2011).
Commissioner follows a five-step sequential evaluation
process to determine whether a claimant is
disabled, that is, unable to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable
impairment that has lasted or can be expected to last for a
continuous period of at least twelve months. 42 U.S.C. §
argues that the ALJ erred by: (1) failing to consider the
overall record, resulting in an erroneous finding that
Plaintiff did not meet Listing 11.14; (2) rejecting the
opinion of Plaintiff's treating physician; (3)
discounting Plaintiff's subjective complaints; and (4)
failing to consider the combined effects of Plaintiff's
impairments. These arguments are without merit.
The ALJ properly found that Plaintiff did not meet Listing
Plaintiff argues the ALJ failed to consider the entire
record, resulting in a finding that he failed to meet Listing
11.14 for peripheral neuropathies.
found disabled at Step Three, a plaintiff must show that his
impairment or combination of impairments meet or equal all of
the specified criteria in a listing. See Johnson v.
Barnhart, 390 F.3d 1067, 1070 (8th Cir. 2004).
“The burden of proof is on the plaintiff to ...